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XBox (Games)

Halo 3 Beta Impressions 209

Yesterday in New York City Microsoft held an invite-only preview of the Halo 3 Beta, and passed out early Beta keys to a group of game journalists. The result is a barrage of coverage about this most-anticipated title. Notable features beyond basic previews include Dan Hsu's take on the game, Dean Takahashi's 'I got my butt kicked' perspective, the San Jose Merc's interview with Bungie Community Lead Brian Jarrad, CVG's hosting of the official Beta Movie, and Joystiq's interview with Frank O'Connor, Bungie's writing lead. From the 1up preview: "It's unmistakably Halo gameplay, despite the rearranged controls (which feel natural after 10 minutes), and all of the additions fit perfectly into the multiplayer universe we've come to love. The interface has been overhauled and is even easier to use, and you now have such niceties as being able to change your control layout at any point on any screen. While the visuals are rich and beautiful, it's the audio that's really impressed us so far. The rumbling throttle of unleashing dual SMGs makes them feel incredibly powerful, and the Spartan Laser tearing past your head is as scary as you'd imagine. Audio cues are more important than ever, and the better your sound system the more next-gen this will feel." More coverage below.
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Halo 3 Beta Impressions

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  • O RLY? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ramble ( 940291 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @01:32PM (#19097033) Homepage
    I hope the story is damn great, because the visuals don't look all that interesting, and under a barrage of some truly great titles coming to the PC it'll be tough.
  • by EGSonikku ( 519478 ) <petersen DOT mobile AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 12, 2007 @01:43PM (#19097151)
    You know, I'm really sick of this particular criticism of console FPS games. The game was designed around a controller. It plays perfectly fine with it. Everyone else playing is using the same input device, there is no need for a keyboard / mouse. Remember the first time you ever used a keyboard / mouse to play an FPS? I'll bet it didn't seem intuitive at all, but with practice you got used to it, and then, proficient with it. Console FPS' are the same way now. Once you've sat down and played a while you don't even think about it. Lately I've been playing a lot of FPS titles on my 360 (Battlefield 2: MC, Call of Duty 2 / 3, Halo 2) and I don't even notice the controller.

    PC gamers really, really need to stop this particular line of eliteism. A gamer is a gamer whether or not he is playing HL2 on a PC or Bioshock on his Xbox 360.
  • Re:O RLY? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2007 @01:48PM (#19097201)
    Link or it didn't happen
  • Depends (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Loadmaster ( 720754 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @01:50PM (#19097215)
    It is a beta after all. If you criticize things to try to make it better you will never be banned. If you bash and criticize to troll the other players then I would hope pretty quick.

    If you play Halo and the only thing you can say the whole time is "this game sucks" then why play? There are so many other great games why waste your time?

  • by VirusEqualsVeryYes ( 981719 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @01:54PM (#19097229)

    Everyone else playing is using the same input device, there is no need for a keyboard / mouse.
    Everyone else is satisfied with candles, we have no need for your newfangled electricity!

    On a less sarcastic note, you're wrong. You like dual analog? Power to you. I've been trying to use it for months now. Still hate it, still suck terribly without my mouse. I think the best thing would be a mouse for aiming and an analog stick for movement. I'm also interested in how well the Wii controls will turn out.

    Remember the first time you ever used a keyboard / mouse to play an FPS? I'll bet it didn't seem intuitive at all
    Mmm, true. But then I turned off look inversion, and it was perfect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2007 @02:12PM (#19097391)
    It's just the new Goldeneye. As with the old one, it sold a lot on consoles and PC users didn't understand. A lot of people just don't play PC games and aren't exposed to FPSes, so when one comes along on consoles it's interesting. Look at PCs, circa 1993-95 they were coming out the wazoo and everything was exciting. People actually cared about games like Ken's Labyrinth. Same thing here except in the context of consoles. Still, hopefully the consoles will still have some original games and it won't be all 99% FPS/RTS/CRPG like on PC... which, incidentally, is why consoles are seeing a surge in popularity and PC gaming is declining nowadays.
  • by Mylakovich ( 1101285 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @02:17PM (#19097415)
    Even with the facts behind you, you do not account for the "Frat Boy" market. Halo 3 will be a smash hit on name recognition alone.
  • by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <> on Saturday May 12, 2007 @02:39PM (#19097585) Journal
    "Neither have dedicated servers which is pathetic in 2007. If you want quality online gaming you need to buy a PS3 or stick to your PC."

    Since when? I've played games with dedicated servers, I've played games without. I've found that dedicated server games almost always need the dedicated server because their code is so slow and laggy whereas a good non-dedicated server game has no lag whatsoever. I've never seen any lag playing online Halo. Frankly I'd say that having dedicated servers in 2007 makes you out of date, your game should be good enough so that your average person (easier to determine on a console) can host and play the game.

    As a PC gamer I'm of the opinion that PC games have great online play, better than just about any console. On the other hand your average console, heck even an antique console, has much better LAN style play, I say LAN style because the consoles don't need a LAN whereas PCs do. I would much rather go over to my friends house to play some Halo against them then try to get them over here to play a LAN game, the setup issues for a LAN combined with everyone needing the game makes Halo the clear winner.

    I've never played Gears so I can't compare it to that but I will say this, PC games !> Console games. PC games are different than console games...
  • by AstrumPreliator ( 708436 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @03:43PM (#19097999)
    You know I agree with some of what you're saying. I was originally going to post something similar but figured the GP would get modded flamebait (which he should have been modded). But since you opened the discussion...

    I'm a gamer that does both PC and console. I really hate this stupid debate. PC gamers should just stfu and play with their mouse and keyboard and console players should do the same and play with their thumb sticks. Halo was designed for the console* and so were the controls. However, to say both control schemes are equal is wrong. I know I'm much better with a mouse and keyboard and I know why. Since you can't exactly pick up the thumb stick and put it back in the middle when it goes over the edge its input is considerably different than a mouse. When you move a thumb stick to the far right your character spins around until you let go and the stick auto-centers itself. If you put your mouse on the right edge of your mouse pad then you look to the right a bit and that's that. You know how PC games usually have a key binding to turn left and right (yaw)? Well imagine if they added two more to look up and down (pitch). This is the control scheme that a console controller achieves**. Now notice how few PC gamers use these key bindings.

    What I seem to notice on console*** is that people put their crosshair in a particular place and then use their left thumb stick to align the shot with the enemy player and only make minor adjustments with their right thumb stick. On PC I most certainly wouldn't do this. When it comes to close quarter combat it gets a lot more difficult to control as the accuracy just isn't there. As I said earlier I doubt any PC gamer would use four separate keys to control pitch and yaw. I also notice that most PC gamers tend to be at least casual console players while the reverse usually isn't true. I'd go deeper into the subject but I think you get the point.

    You're free to disagree of course but that's how I see it. Both control schemes have pros and cons. For instance I hate picking my mouse up or what usually happens is it runs into my keyboard or computer case since my desk is small. That means I miss a kill or die or both. I also don't like playing ROMs on the PC that much, the controller was always better for those games. The playing field is not even and both PC and console gamers just need to accept that.

    * Technically it was designed for the PC and Mac but I guess that's a bit too technical.
    ** Almost achieves anyway. Console controllers have to have active resistance on the thumb sticks so they auto-center which takes more getting used to.
    *** I don't know any Halo gods so my observation may be wrong in the higher tiers of Halo gameplay.
  • by Toby_Tyke ( 797359 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @04:03PM (#19098211) Journal
    No, we really, really do NOT need to stop explaining why it's impossible to play an FPS with a console controller.

    Well that's just flat out wrong. This story is about people playing Halo. They were doing it with console controllers. Halo is an FPS. There for, playing an FPS on a controller is clearly possible. You might think a keyboard and mouse is better, that hardly means that using a controller is impossible.

    Now lots of people play FPSs on consoles, and they seem to be enjoying themselves, so I don't think theres anything wrong with using a controller. I do think using a keyboard and mouse is better, if by better we mean provides faster response times. In any multiplayer game, where half the players were using K/M and half controllers, the K/M guys would win every time, all other things being equal.

    On the other hand, I think controllers have some advantages over K/M. My consoles are all in my living room, and I play games sitting on my couch. I don't have a desk in front of my TV, so there's nowhere to put a K/M. Try balancing a keyboard on your lap and running you mouse on the cushion next to you. Comfortable? Thought not. I also prefer a thumbstick to WASD.

    But really, why does it matter? As the OP said, why do we have to keep having this stupid argument? You like the K/M, dislike the controller. OP likes controllers. I'm happy with either. Why does each side feel the need to not only say "I like x" but to also insist "because y is inferior"? I feel like I'm back in the playground arguing about C64s and Spectrums.

    Which you obviously do not know, because *you* *are* *not* *a* *gamer*. Deal with it.

    AH, so you are the final arbiter of who is and isn't a gamer? Wow. Am I a gamer? I've been playing video games for twenty years, but I like some console FPSs, so I might fail your test. Perhaps you mean he isn't a PC gamer? Are PC gamers the one true gamer clan, to whom all others are inferior? Are those who are unwilling or unable to drop stupid amounts of cash on new graphics cards and processors supposed to keep quiet and never offer an opinion? Should they just kneel in supplication and reverence before their PC gaming overlords?

    if you dislike us so much, as you say, then why the hell do you strive to be just like us?

    I'm not even sure what this means? Where exactly did he say he was trying to be like you?

    Oh, just FYI, the first time I played Doom, I used a joypad (yes PAD! not even a joystick), because I hated the keyboard and mouse so much. It was a lot easier back then, since there was no looking up or down. I didn't start using the K/M till quake came out.
  • by denominateur ( 194939 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @05:17PM (#19098859) Homepage
    Okay... look at this halo 3 gameplay trailer : pe=wmv [] and tell me why the hell the player is unable to hit most targets that are a couple of meters away and only slowly moving? At one point he even shoots around in confusion because he can't track the enemy at a sufficient speed. I realise the game has been designed with this in mind (e.g. missing a lot, forgiving collision detection, wide area weapons) but it just takes the point away from fps. The nice thing about keyboard/mouse control is the smoothness with which the two devices combine their motion (other than the curled up fingers and the resulting pain from the wsad keys... a technical hurdle that could easily be solved with a special device for your keyboard hand sporting a couple of buttons and an intuitive direction control). Take a look at some counterstrike demos and appreciate the difference.
  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @08:06PM (#19099991)
    Actually you can. It usually depends on the ground type though. Grass makes practically no noise, dirt is fairly quiet and snow is damned loud if someone's going for a melee attack behind you. More often than not most people simply never notice it over the sounds of gunfire from some other player(s).
  • "At this point, I feel the Ballmer + Chair Throwing discussion is a bit worn out. If MarkL has anything to add, fine, but let's move on." - Who da'Punk
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Saturday May 12, 2007 @11:12PM (#19100963)
    The deal with Halo is that playing Halo with 4 friends is pretty easy (all you need are 4 controllers), and it's a lot easier to have a 16-person Halo party than to have a 16-person LAN party. While $PC_FPS_OF_CHOICE has better graphics and possibly better controls (people can fight K/M vs. controller all day if they want), it's so much more fun to blast the guy sitting next to you than a guy over the network.

    The thing that a lot of hardcore gamers don't realize is that casual gamers like "party games". I can play Halo with my friend/apartmentmate/whoever, but I can't play Doom or Counterstrike with them right next to me.
  • by C0rinthian ( 770164 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:59AM (#19114179)

    B.S! I've played for hours and it only gets more frustrating as the action heats up and the controller is this obstacle between you and the kills! Lets get a mouse for the xbox already! What the hell??!
    Maybe you suck?

    Here's a question: How much time have you spent playing FPS's on a PC? I'm willing to bet it's more than a few hours. So if you've been playing CS for the past 6 years, do you really think it's legit to compare that to a couple hours with a controller? Seriously?
  • by C0rinthian ( 770164 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:06PM (#19115309)
    Halo did to FPS what WoW did to MMO's. It took what everyone else did, polished it, simplified it, and brought it to the masses.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982